Today’s post was especially hard for me to write as thoughts whirled around my head, but refused to be put onto paper. Even now, I write through tear clouded eyes and mascara stained checks. I tell you this not to make you worry about my well being or to gain your sympathy, but so you know the truth that is a bereaved mother’s reality. Remembering and honoring a life you no longer get to hold is a double edged sword; honoring Everett’s short life and acknowledging our angel in Heaven makes my soul soar and my heart swell, but the reality is, I am doing just that, remembering him, and those memories are all I’ll ever have. I don’t finish a post early in order to pick up a hungry newborn needed to be nursed back to sleep or get interrupted by the sweet sounds of his cooing. I am a bereaved mother. And unlike his brothers (whom I thank the Lord every day for allowing me to hold here on this Earth), my third son will spend his life in Heaven and the reality of that slams my soul back down to Earth faster than I ever thought possible.
The martyr in me wants to perfectly articulate to the whole world exactly how my life, my heart, and my faith were shattered into a million pieces the day we found out we’d lost our precious baby boy, but the mother in me knows that reality isn’t ours. We are blessed; we have two children here on this Earth we get to love and hold every day. Two children who, alongside my husband, keep me from losing myself in grief, piece back together the majority of my broken heart, and renew my faith in our Lord and Savior. But, despite these precious souls I have been entrusted with, a piece of my heart remains scattered, searching for the piece of our family’s puzzle that will never be completed while we walk this Earth; a fact that often weighs heavy on my heart and leaves me guiltily wondering:
Are my children not enough? Is my husband not enough? Is my faith not enough?
And now is about the point where the message behind today’s subject slaps me across the face: forgiveness and humanity.
I may be a mother with a super human ability to juggle what seems like a million tasks, run a day care, keep the house clean, and get the kids fed, bathed, and in bed on time (okay, okay, I admit, my husband helps too); but I am only human. I have flaws; about a million of them, and I choose to forgive myself for those flaws. I forgive myself for the days where my grief overshadows my joy and for the days when my grief isn’t even an after thought. I forgive myself for everything that I do not have the strength to do in honor of our angel, and for everything that I do (as it often feels like I am betraying my living children by honoring their brother in such an outspoken way). I forgive myself for putting my living family above my son in Heaven on days where I am stretched too thin. I forgive myself for the days I look at Jack and Lucas and all I can see is the moments Everett should have been a part of and for all the moments I enjoy without Everett here with us. I forgive myself for all my short falls and embrace my imperfections. I am only human. You are only human. We are only human.
So, to all those bereaved parents out there who struggle with the balance of appreciating the lives you get to hold here on this Earth and honoring the ones taken from you too soon. I stand with you, you are not alone. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. Honor yourself. I promise you, by doing so you will honor your angel looking down on you from Heaven proudly telling his baby angel buddies, “See that family down there, those are the ones I call my own.“